A Net for Every Bed: The Logic Behind a New Big Anti-Malaria Grant

The only upside of malaria is that it's one of the few dread diseases for which something as low-tech as a mosquito net can dramatically cut mortality rates. Sure, there are plenty of complicated fronts in the anti-malaria fightjust look at some of the work the Gates Foundation is backingbut nets remain one of the powerful weapons out there for savings lives.  

A case in point: This week, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced a new $87.4 million grant agreement with the government of Cameroon in support of malaria prevention efforts in the country. Nets are a big part of the picture: 15.8 million mosquito nets will be distributed throughout Cameroon as part of the grant, the goal being universal coverage.

Lately, Cameroon has seen some successes in the fight against malaria, although death rates from the disease remain high. From 2008 to 2013, sickness related to malaria decreased among pregnant women, children under five and the general population. These reductions are mainly a result of malaria control initiatives the country, funded fully or partially by the Global Fund partnership.

Andre Mama Fouda, Minister of Public Health in Cameroon, said that, thanks to the partnership, Cameroon will for the first time achieve universal coverage of mosquito nets. “The forthcoming campaign to achieve universal coverage in June 2015 will be 77 percent financed by the Global Fund with 23 percent of funding coming from the Government of Cameroon, he said. “This once more shows Cameroon’s commitment to mobilizing its domestic resources to fight malaria.”

Cynthia Mwase, Head of the Africa and Middle East Department at the Global Fund, said that “the new grant underscores Global Fund’s commitment to work with the government of Cameroon in the fight against malaria. In terms of impact, we hope that over the next three years we will see a turning of the tide against malaria."